Having been primarily involved in large-scale developments and construction projects in the past, Corobrik is now focused on making inroads into the DIY market, providing the outlying areas of South Africa with a high-quality, affordable construction product.
“South Africa’s historical and economical legacy has resulted in a boost in small-scale construction in the low- to middle-income groups,” says Nick Booth, Corobrik’s chief operating officer. “While Corobrik has a big share of the top end of the market, we feel that this is one section where we need to make our presence felt more through increased accessibility. Our geographical footprint has been limited by not utilising all the channels of distribution available to us, and this is something we are remedying this year. We are also investing in building capacity at our 15 factories’ growing production and meet demand.”
Corobrik currently has 28 sales centres that support the large metropolitan areas across the country, and the company also supplies formal distributors such as CashBuild, Build-It, Builders Warehouse and Mass Build, among others, which they will expand upon.
Partnering with local retailers
The next phase is an increase in supply to independent distributors who are not regionally based, but rather the neighbourhood-based hardware and building supply groups. Through these independent hardware retailers, Corobrik will be able to increase accessibility to the more rural areas, offering a low-cost, high-quality product that they previously might not have considered.
“We are working on discovering the credit requirements, product types and economic range for these areas individually,” continued Booth. “We want it to be a win-win situation, but it’s important that we customise the concept for each distributor as the ‘one size fits all’ approach just won’t work.”
Longevity and fashion are drivers
Market research has indicated that, for the last three or four years, price was a big determinant when buying products for construction on a small scale. However, Booth said they had noticed that, over the last six months, there has been a swing towards longevity and fashion.
“We have come through a tough time where price was the major driver, but we are starting to see some movement away from just price. There is more understanding of products that offer benefits over time,” said Booth.
Corobrik’s face brick ranges are coming to the fore in this market because of the uniformity in size and shape, as well as colour range which brings an aesthetic benefit. In addition, the low maintenance required – because of a lack of plaster and paint – has associated long-term cost savings together with thermal, sound and environmental benefits.
“We are getting a real understanding from distributors in rural areas, townships and residential sectors of what would give them an advantage with their customers,” said Booth. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure they have the best products to offer the buyer.”
Tel: 011 871 8600
Caption main image:
Nick Booth, Corobrik’s chief operating officer.
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